by Sam Rubenstein
On All-Star Saturday night 2004, two funny looking white boyz were the stars. In the three point shooting contest, it was Abercrombie Korver looking like Ashton Kutcher with bangs that went down past his face. It was weird that he could still have such a great shooting eye with that much hair in his face.
At the diametric opposite of the spectrum of hair positioning, there was The Birdman. This was a year before his awkward “performance” where he seemed a little… off.
Chris Andersen used to be his name, and later on he would go through some other stuff, including the classic hippie look of matted down dirty long hair underneath a headband, the kind of look that inspires urban legends of how before each game he would make a little cut in his forehead and dip the headband in LSD. Bill Walton or Jimi Hendrix used to do that all the time. I forget which one.
The look that Birdman pulled off that night was truly an amazing feat, because as we all know he would later get suspended for doing drugs. However, on that magical night when he entered the public consciousness, I saw him with that hair and wondered am I the one on acid right now?
It was the kind of haircut that made you want to say “Look Chris, I know you’re an NBA star making money and all that, but you still want the groupies, right?” Whereas Michael Jordan popularized the baldie, which carried the sentiment “I am a man and I am about my business, I do not have time for something as superficial as hair styling,” Chris Andersen saw no such dilemma.
His daily ‘do adjustment was the kind of desperate call for attention associated with many of our favorite bad haircut badass bad boys of the past, from Rodman to Mason to Sprewell to Ron Ron.
Rodman was a 90s guy who switched up colors like a rebellious punk rock girl in High School. Anthony Mason was a 90s guy/scary insane murderer who had important phrases stenciled into the side of his head, which may have been Zodiac killer clues. Sprewell had the man with pigtails trend where grown professional athletes tried to look like 8-year-old girls, which was weird and disturbingly caught on for a while. Josh Childress had the black Q-tip going on for a bit before he had to flee the country, possibly getting his neat ‘fro stuck in the airport metal detector. Assorted players blew out ‘fros over the years. Rip Hamilton used to get creative with hairstyles that mimicked tire treads for a little advertising synergy. Ben Wallace mixed it up, and his performance as a player was actually tied to his hairstyle choice for the evening. Steph got a tattoo on the side of his head, which I thought might be hair for a minute.
But I gotta give it to the Birdman and his sickening amount of hair gel. There has never been a greater inadvertent perfect pairing of song and subject than the No. 1 Stunna and Clipse smash and Chris Andersen. What happened to that boy?
As for the night of Kutcher and Birdman, the winners of their respective contests were Voshon Lenard and Fred Jones. A couple of guys with shaved heads, who will never have a legacy like the Birdman. YAWWWWWWWN.
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